Health Department Issues 2000-2001 Fish Advisories for Recreational Anglers

Albany, June 6, 2000 – The State Health Department today released the 2000–2001 advisories for recreational fishing which include changes in current advisories for Lake Capri (Suffolk County), Ashokan Reservoir (Ulster County), Cannonsville and Pepacton Reservoirs (Delaware County), the Susquehanna, Chenango and Unadilla Rivers, Sauquoit Creek (Oneida County), Beaver Lake (Lewis County), Lake Champlain and Schroon Lake (Warren and Essex Counties).

The advisories are for sportfish that people catch recreationally and are not for commercial fish sold in markets. The advisories identify fish from more than 70 water bodies (including those discussed below) where sportfish have elevated levels of chemical contaminants. The advisories help people minimize their exposure to contaminants in sportfish and game and reduce health risks.

The advisories are published each spring by the State Health Department and each fall in the Fishing and Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guides issued by the State Department of Environmental Conservation. The State Health Department develops the advisories based on data from the State Department of Environmental Conservation's ongoing fish and wildlife monitoring programs.

Special advice for women, infants and children has not changed. Women of childbearing age and children under the age of 15 are advised to EAT NO FISH from the waters listed in the advisories. The chemicals in the sportfish may affect developing organs in young children or the fetus, and can build up in women's bodies and be passed on in mother's milk.

Advisory Changes and New Advisories

Lake Capri (Suffolk County):

  • The new advisory for Lake Capri is EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of American eel, based on new data showing elevated chlordane levels.
  • Previous advice of NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of Lake Capri carp remains in effect, due to elevated chlordane levels in new samples.
  • The Lake Capri carp advisory was initially adopted due to elevated cadmium levels in earlier (1994) collections. Reduced cadmium levels were found in the new (1999) carp collections following institution of controls on a source of cadmium contamination. Due to the new data showing elevated chlordane levels, the Lake Capri carp advisory was retained.

New York City Reservoir System: Ashokan Reservoir (Ulster County), Cannonsville Reservoir (Delaware County) and Pepacton Reservoir (Delaware County):

  • The new advisory for the Ashokan Reservoir is EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of all sizes of walleye, based on new data showing elevated mercury levels in these fish.
  • A previous advisory to EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of smallmouth bass larger than 16 inches from the Ashokan Reservoir remains in effect.
  • New advisories for Cannonsville and Pepacton Reservoirs are EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of smallmouth bass larger than 15 inches, based on elevated mercury levels in larger smallmouth bass from both of these waters.
  • The State Health Department and New York City Department of Environmental Protection previously announced the Ashokan, Cannonsville and Pepacton reservoir advisory changes in a March 16, 2000 joint press release.

Susquehanna, Chenango and Unadilla Rivers:

  • The new advisory for the Susquehanna, Chenango and Unadilla Rivers is EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of walleye greater than 22 inches in length. This advisory is based on new data that show elevated mercury levels in larger walleye from these waters.

Sauquoit Creek (Oneida County):

  • Based on new data showing lower PCB levels in brown trout taken in an upstream portion of Sauquoit Creek, the previous advisory to EAT NO brown trout has been removed from a four mile portion, but remains in effect for the downstream portion of this creek.
  • That advisory previously applied to Sauquoit Creek downstream of the dam at Clayville, and was based on elevated PCB levels in brown trout. The new data showed that brown trout caught in the section of Sauquoit Creek from the dam at Clayville downstream to "the old silk mill dam" (near the New Hartford/Paris town line) had low PCB levels. The advisory now states: EAT NONE for brown trout caught in Sauquoit Creek between the old silk mill dam (near the New Hartford/Paris town line) and the Mohawk River.

Beaver Lake (Lewis County):

  • The new advisory is EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of chain pickerel. This advisory is due to new data showing elevated mercury levels in chain pickerel from Beaver Lake.

Lake Champlain:

  • Due to new data showing elevated PCB levels, an advisory has been added to EAT NO brown bullhead from Cumberland Bay (within Cumberland Head to Crab Island) on Lake Champlain.
  • Previous advisories to EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of American eel and yellow perch from Cumberland Bay and to EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of lake trout over 25 inches and walleye over 19 inches from the entire lake remain in effect.

Schroon Lake (Warren and Essex Counties):

  • The new advisories are EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MORE PER MONTH of yellow perch larger than 13 inches and smallmouth bass (all sizes). This advisory is due to new data showing elevated mercury levels in smallmouth bass and large yellow perch.
  • The previous advisory to EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of lake trout over 27 inches (due to PCB contamination) remains in effect for Schroon Lake.

The Health Department's General Advisory to recreational anglers for sportfish taken from any fresh waters in the State and some marine waters at the mouth of the Hudson River is to EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL (½ pound) per week and has not changed. Women of childbearing age, infants and children under the age of 15 are advised not to consume any sportfish from any of the waters where EAT NONE or EAT NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH advisories are in effect.

A copy of the health advisories for fish and wildlife consumption can be obtained by calling the Department of Health at 1–800–458–1158, extension 27815. The full advisories are also available from the Internet: http://www.nyhealth.gov/environmental/outdoors/fish/fish.htm or can be requested via e–mail: BTSA@health.state.ny.us

6/7/00–65 OPA